Before we get back to our computers to write a story, the COOL HUNTING Instagram offers our editorial team (and a few contributors) an opportunity to share moments of inspiration. Aligned with the site, the word design—and its flexible definition—guides all that we post on social media. Thus, the subject matter of our photos encompasses hotels and footwear, drinking and dining, exhibitions and automobiles, and the themes we outline below. We’re proud of these scenes that we’ve captured and the lessons we learned in process, about form, color and movement, especially as mobile phone camera technology has improved. It’s worth mentioning, once again, that we were surprised by what performs better than the rest and what doesn’t. Regardless, every post comes from a place of true appreciation.
From concrete silos in Cape Town to a slaughterhouse in Shanghai, brutalist buildings were repurposed to great effect this year. The former now houses Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, which we visited during Design Indaba; the latter includes new boutiques and design offices in the bustling Chinese city.
With more than 50,000 die-cut houses, suspended from the ceiling, Nendo’s work “Gathered House” mesmerized at the National Gallery of Victoria. At home in NYC, Leo Villareal also made people look to the ceiling, where a running screen shifted with innumerable digital stars, each aglow. Appropriately titled “Star Ceiling,” it greeted guests to 2019’s The Armory Show.
View this post on Instagram
The entrance into this year’s @thearmoryshow is the work of @leo_villareal_studio. The 2019 piece, aptly titled “Star Ceiling,” sets a moody tone struck between the natural and the digital. It’s a proper greeting from the prestigious fair. 📷 @daveybarrett . . . #thearmoryshow #leovillareal #ledart #art #thearmoryshow2019
New Automotive Design Motivations
In 2019, we began to glimpse new influences in automotive design—from the overhaul (and 375-pound weight loss) of Mercedes-Benz’s much loved G wagon to Nike and fashion designer John Elliott’s contributions to a special edition Lexus. We didn’t just document this on Instagram, but lived it through our numerous test drives and road trips.
Handsome Hospitality at Home
NYC continues to be a leader in food, drink and the presentation of both. Venues like East Village cocktail den Mister Paradise and the French restaurant inside SoHo’s Roman and Williams Guild, La Mercerie, envelop guests in design that services the experience. That said, they’re also providing well-considered menus that beg to be tried.
Waves of Color in Public Installations
From the minimalist blanket of breath-responsive colorful light inside Samsung’s Milan Design Week installation, “Resonance,” to the field of 58,800 fiber-optic LEDs (hand-planted by the artist with 24 volunteers) that comprised Bruce Munro’s “Field of Light” for Sensorio, we were captivated by light’s relationship to color. As these are two necessary components to photography as a whole, we do understand the success of these images on Instagram.
View this post on Instagram
Sensorio’s “Field of Light” by Bruce Munro opens to the public on Sunday and consists of 58,800 individually fiber-optic LEDs (hand-planted by the artist and 24 volunteers) 💡Environmentally conscious and immersive, the installation will be open nightly for self-guided experiences until January 2020 📸 @ariannaaimee
Hero image by Arianna Aimee